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Recordings & Discussions of Other Vocal Works: Main Page | Motets BWV 225-231 | Mass in B minor BWV 232 | Missae Breves & Sanctus BWV 233-242 | Magnificat BWV 243 | Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 | Johannes-Passion BWV 245 | Lukas-Passion BWV 246 | Markus-Passion BWV 247 | Weihnachts-Oratorium BWV 248 | Oster-Oratorium BWV 249 | Chorales BWV 250-438 | Geistliche Lieder BWV 439-507 | AMN BWV 508-523 | Quodlibet BWV 524 | Aria BWV 1127

Matthäus-Passion BWV 244
Conducted by Paul Goodwin

V-1

J.S. Bach: Matthäus Passion [The Jonathan Miller BBC Production]
J.S. Bach: Mattheus Passion
J.S. Bach: Matthäus Passion [The Jonathan Miller BBC Production] - Highlights

 
 
 

Matthäus-Passion BWV 244

Paul Goodwin (Conductor); Jonathan Miller (Director)

Choir and Orchestra

Tenor [Evangelist]: Rufus Müller; Baritone [Jesus]: Richard Jackson; Soprano: Nancy Agenta; Mezzo-soprano: Lynda Lee; Counter-tenor: Jonathan Peter Kenny; Tenor: Jamie MacDougall; Baritone: Stephen Varcoe
Choir: 24 singers, excluding the soloists, in alphabetical order: John Bernays (Bass, also High Priest); Simon Berridge (Tenor); Ricard Bordas (Alto, also False Witness); Temine Bowling (Soprano); Alicia Carroll (Soprano); Jacqueline Connell (Alto); Darren Fox (Tenor); Helen Groves (Soprano, also 2nd Handmaiden); Thomas Guthrie (Bass, also Judas); Alastair Hamilton (Bass, also Priest); Nicholas Hariades (Alto); Charles Humphries (Alto); Philippa Hyde (Soprano, also 1st Handmaiden); Suzanne Joyce (Alto); David Lowe (Tenor); Martin Oxenham (Bass); Paul Phoenix (Tenor, also False Witness); Alan Preston (Tenor); Bass: Robert Rice (Bass, also Pilate); Carys Lloyd Roberts (Soprano, also Pilate's wife); Julian Stocker (Tenor); Katy [or Katey] Tansey (Soprano); Stephen Wallace (Alto); Edward Wickham (Bass, also Peter)
Orchestra, including soloists, in alphabetical order: Rachel Beckett (Flute); Adrian Butterfield (Violin); Rachel Byrt (Viola), Andrew Crawford (Flute); Iona Davies (Violin); Christine Garratt (Flute); Helen Gough (Cello); Gail Hennessey (Oboe); Fiona Huggett (Violin); William Hunt (Viola da Gamba, Violone); James Johnstone (Organ); Jonathan Kahan (Violin); Caroline Kershaw (Oboe); Catherine Latham (Oboe); Anna McDonald (Violin); Rebecca Miles (Recorder, Violin); Helen Orsler (Violin); Joanna Parker (Violin); Rachel Podger (Leader, Violin); Mark Radcliffe (Oboe); Timothy Roberts (Organ); Jane Rogers (Viola); Clare Salaman (Leader, Violin); Ashley Solomon (Flute, Recorder); Daniel Yeadon (Cello)

Cala Records/United Recordings CACD-89301
Brilliant Classics 99048
Cala Records CACD-88030

Feb 24-27, 1994

2-CD / TT: 151:06
2-CD / TT: 151:06
CD / TT: 70:25

Recorded & filmed at St. George's Theatre London, England. Producer: Jonathan Miller (for BBC TV program).
Watch this performance on YouTube: Part 1 [11:02] | Part 2 [14:47] | Part 3 [11:22] | Part 4 [14:26] | Part 5 [11:42] | Part 6 [12:53] | Part 7 [13:38] | Part 8 [13:50] | Part 9 [10:14] | Part 10 [13:20] | Part 11 [14:05] | Part 12 [11:00]
See: Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 - conducted by Paul Goodwin
Buy this album at:
Cala 2-CD: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de
Cala 2-CD: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de
Cala Highlights CD: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de
Cala Highlights CD: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de
Cala Highlights CD: Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de

Goodwin's Matthews Passion

Harry Steinman wrote (July 20, 2000):
(To Phillip Peters) Phillip, I've been listening to the Goodwin passion and am very pleasantly surprised...I've shied away from it in favor of the marquee names (Gardiner, Klemperer, etc) and because there is no booklet, no notes. But the opening notes caught my attention: A very strong presence of the lower-register strings (as I've noted before I'm a sucker for the loooww notes) provides a compelling and ominous presence. I'm not crazy about counter-tenor Jonathan Peter Kenny's voice, but it's not a problem for me...and of course there's Argenta.

Now I'm in a quandary: Which SMP to listen to when I'm in the mood!

 

SMP - Goodwin's recording - who's playing oboe?

Bradley Lehman wrote (March 27, 2002):
While we're on this topic, I think Paul Goodwin's recording has a particularly go(i.e. rooster-like!) presentation of the oboe theme here. That's not surprising, since Goodwin himself is among the handful of best Baroque oboe players in the world. So I was wondering: who's playing that solo for him? Is he playing it himself while also conducting? I have this set in the Brilliant Classics reissue and there's no booklet. Anybody here have the original Cala release where (presumably) the players are listed? Thanks for any info!
http://www.bach-cantatas.com/Vocal/BWV244-Goodwin.htm

 

Goodwin-Miller SMP - Fastest gun in the West?
Staged SMP
SMP movie

Ehud Shiloni wrote (May 14, 2003):
Following the extensive discussions of the McCreesh SMP, and the many references made with regards to tempo and TT, I decided to pull off my shelf the quickest version of them all, and to give it another shot. This is of course the Jonathan Miller "staged" version, with Paul Goodwin as conductor. It clocks in at just 2:31[!] - way faster than most recent versions which hover at the 2-forties - 2-fifties, and way-way faster than the "old" masters where over 3 hrs is the norm.

A few details: Issued on Brilliant Classics . On the cover it says: "1995 Cala Records Ltd" [?]. I got my copy at BRO for peanuts, but there was no booklet enclosed!
The soloists:
Rufus Müller - Evangelist
Richard Jackson - Jesus
Nancy Argenta [s], Lynda Lee [mezzo], Jonathan Peter Kenny [ct], Jamie MacDougall [t], Stephen Varcoe [b].
"Performed on Period Instruments".

My impressions:

A highly effective perfpormance! So much so, that I will now actively look for a DVD or VHS of the staged performance [ of which I once saw bits and pieces on TV in a JSB documentary ].

I was not bothered by the speed at all, save for a couple of minor instances. The performance to my ears was extremely well balanced between soloists, choir and instruments. I recalled what McCreesh said in his interview about placing the singers in front of the players rather than vice-versa, and perhaps in this staged performance such a better balance was indeed achieved.

Most of the soloists were for me unfamiliar names, but all were good to very good with not a weak role at all.

And the highlight: A really excellent "Aus Liebe" from Argenta, and, from memory, better than the one she sang for Suzuki! She starts off with a wobbly recitative, but once she joins the flute in the aria - she takes on wings and it's a heavenly flight. I liked very much Deborah York's singing with McCreesh, but I think that Argenta and her accompanying players succeeded to top that one.

Summary: The proof of the musical pudding is in the listening. Not in any "label", not in TT, not in HIP and not in HOP. Give this one a try.

P.S. "HOP" - someone on the early days of the List suggested: "Historically Opposed Performance"....;-). Could be a usefull acronym.

Paul Dirmeikis wrote (May 14, 2003):
Ehud Shiloni wrote:
< A few details: Issued on Brilliant Classics . On the cover it says: "1995 Cala Records Ltd" [?]. I got my copy at BRO for peanuts, but there was no booklet enclosed! >
Thank you for your information, Ehud. I didn't know this recording, which should certainly now become the 19th I buy... But it's not a big deal, since you say you had it "for peanuts". My question is : what is BRO ? Can you give us the Internet link ?

Ehud Shiloni wrote (May 15, 2003):
[To Paul Dirmeikis] BRO = Brkshire Record Outlet: http://www.berkshirerecordoutlet.com/

The "Holly Grail" of compulsive buyers and collectors....[If you have 18 versions - you qualify!].

I don't really remember when I bought it [it was quite a while back and it may not be available now!] or exactly how much I paid, but it surely qualified as "peanuts".

BTW, the CD # is 99048.

Dyfan Lewis wrote (May 15, 2003):
[To Ehud Shiloni] The film was great. The soloists and the players are in casual modern dress and no-one is reading scores. The choir is tiny - maybe OVPP and moves threateningly towards Jesus in some of the scens. There is drama but it's not a romantic opera. I have the CD too and it works even without the visuals - never thought of it being fast.

Bernard Nys wrote (May 15, 2003):
[To Ehud Shiloni] I could record the SMP screenplay you mentioned in April 2003 from Dutch TV. If you know something about a DVD release, please let us know. If it's on Brilliant Classics, there will be no subtitles and I hate that. Anyway, I didn't like it that much : if they wanted to make a theatrical screenplay of the SMP, why they didn't put HIP clothes and HIP background ? All singers are dressed in jeans and shirt or T-shirt and they just move a little bit around, without really acting like in a movie. I think a conductor like Bernstein could have made a real great movie about the SMP, in English. Bernstein's SMP is one of my favourite SMP's and on the second CD he tells which kind of operatic drama the SMP is.

Dyfan Lewis wrote (May 15, 2003):
[To Bernard Nys] I think because they wanted it to be NOT historical but right now. I
recorded it from Arte I think or maybe Swedish TV. I don't know if it's available as a video/DVD

med vänliga hälsningar

Paul Dirmeikis wrote (May 16, 2003):
Thank you again, Ehud, for the link to BRO. The SMP by Goodwin is still available, and still for peanuts !

My SMP mania is not really a compulsive attitude. I'm simply working for 2 years on a compared study of all the HIP recordings, study that I wish to publish in a couple of years as a CD-Rom or DVD... So, my 18 versions (soon 19, thanks to you) are part of my "work" material, (I should rather say my "passion" material).

Peter Bloemendaal wrote (May 16, 2003):
This performance dates from 1994.

I'll give you my data, copied from the closing generics of the TV broadcast:

Conductor: Paul Goodwin
Leader: Jonathan Miller
Choir: 24 singers, excluding the soloists,
in alphabetical order:
John Bernays, also High Priest
Simon Berridge
Ricard Bordas, also False Witness
Temine Bowling
Alicia Carroll
Jacqueline Connell
Darren Fox
Helen Groves, also 2nd Handmaiden
Tom Guthrie, also Judas
Alastair Hamilton, also Priest
Nicholas Hariades
Charles Humphries
Philippa Hyde, also 1st Handmaiden
Suzanne Joyce
David Lowe
Martin Oxenham
Paul Phoenix, also False Witness
Alan Preston
Robert Rice, also Pilate
Carys Lloyd Roberts, also Pilate's wife
Julian Stocker
Katy Tansey
Stephen Wallace
Edward Wickham, also Peter
As I count 16 male voices and 8 females, it stands to reason that probably there were 4 parts of 6 voices each, 6 female sopranos, 2 female altos, 4 countertenors, 6 tenors and 6 basses

Boys choir: none, ripieno played by the organ
Orchestra: ad hoc for this theatrical production, all period instruments
Recording: DDD Brilliant Records; released 1995 as Cala Records
Recorded: April 1994 St. George's Theatre London N7
Recorded for the BBC and the United Recording Company by the BBC Transcription Union
Sound supervisors: gareth Watson, Paul Vigars
Recor Producer: Ben Turmer
Assistant Jonathan Miller: Andrew Lucre
Producer: Tony Cash

Solists:
Evangelist - Rufus Miller
Christ - Richard Jackson
alto arias:
Lynda Lee - mezzo soprano
Jonathan Peter Kenny - counter tenor (Erbarme dich)
soprano arias - Nancy Argenta
tenor arias - Jamie MacDougall
bass arias Stephen Varcoe

Orchstra 1:
Violin 1 : Clare Salaman (leader), Adrian Butterfield, Iona Davies
Violin 2: Jonathan Kahan, Joanna Parker
Viola: Jane Rogers
Cello: Daniel Yeadon
Violone: William Hunt
Chamber organ: James Johnstone
Oboes d'a& da caccia: Gail Hennessy, Catherine Latham
Flute: Rachel Becket, Andrew Crawford

Orchestra 2:
Violin 1: Rachel Podger (leader), Fiona Huggett, Anna MacDonald
Violin 2: Helen Orsler, Rebecca Miles (also plays the recorder)
Viola: Rachel Byrt
Cello: Helen Gough
Violone & Viola da Gamba: Sarah Cunningham
Chamber organ: Timothy Roberts
Oboes d' amore & da caccia: Caroline Kershaw, Mark Radccliffe
Flute: Christine Garratt
Flute & Recorder: Ashley Solomon

The unity of the choir must have been remarkable since some one suggested this was an OVPP recording. Admitted, in the smaller choral parts Goodwin followed Bach's division in 2 choruses, which still makes it 3VPP.

Remarkable is also that Goodwin's opening chorus is average as to speed, the turbae and most chorales are faster. All arias in the first half of the Passion are faster than average. He is slowing down at "Erbarme dich". "Erbarme dich", the following chorale "Bin ich gleich von dir gewichen", the soprano aria "Aus Liebe" and the bass arias "Komm, suesses Kreuz" and "Mache dich mein Herze rein" are as fast or slower than the average HIP recordings, whereas the final chorus "Wir setzen uns mit Traenen nieder" is again faster than average. It is as if Goodwin wants to stretch out the central arias and both concluding magnificent bass arias, all of them depicting the nucleus of the Passion, and does not want to finish on a larmoyant note, knowing that Easter and Christ's ressurrection is at hand.

Pete Blue wrote (May 17, 2003):
[To Paul Dirmeikis] I saw the Miller-directed SMP in Brooklyn a few years ago and was greatly moved. It was done at the BAM Harvey Theatre, which was in the midst of renovation at the time, and the stripped-to-the-walls setting heightened the emotional level of the performance.

For a fast, HIP, reduced-vibrato SMP on disc I can recommend the Hermann Max, on 2 CDs. I got it cheap at Berkshire a few years ago (BTW, I've heard Europeans complain that high overseas shipping costs can make dealing with Berkshire diadvantageous for them).

Does anyone know the recent (not the older Eurodisc) SMP from Farao Classics, a small German label, conducted by Enoch von Guttenberg? The single audio sample on Farao's website, which is the only one I've been able to find online, is intriguing.

Guttenberg is, I believe, an independently wealthy man who conducts his own orchestra and chorus. He uses modern instruments, but his interpretive choices (of tempos, number of performers, and vocal types) are HIPly Correct. Guttenberg's video of the B Minor Mass (BWV 232) and his CD of the Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) have a tremendous vitality and sense of commitment; they rank with the best, IMO.

Brad B. wrote (May 17, 2003):
Pete Blue wrote:
< I saw the Miller-directed SMP in Brooklyn a few years ago and was greatly moved. It was done at the BAM Harvey Theatre, which was in the midst of renovation at the time, and the stripped-to-the-walls setting heightened the emotional level of the performance. >
I'm very proud to say I had a hand in instigating and realizing that performance. Jonathan and I were sitting around at lunch during rehearsals of his "Poppea" at the soon-to-be-renamed Harvey Theater, when he asked if an original-instruments SMP would be possible in NYC. We had a discussion about the travails of contracting early music events in NYC (as you will note from some of the early music recordings that come out of here, baroque orchestral playing has been a mixed bag; at the time there was also a war going on between at least three groups of string players, most of whom have since gotten friendlier with one another. At the time, one had to hire people from one of the three cliques or risk the squabbles that would come about from mixing them. I recommended the latter, which BAM happily adopted. It was, I think, not only a good performance, but also a turning point in the new detente between the warring strings). Eventually, Jonathan announced that he was going to speak with Harvey later that day and get him to resurrect his staged SMP in NYC.

I played one of the organ continuo parts in that performance. I got on very well with Paul G., in case you wonder, given my preference for full-blooded performance, how I get along with British HIP musicians. It was a miraculous event; one I'll never forget. The subsequent revivals under the New York Collegium were significantly HIP-er, and significantly less vibrant, though they displayed greater unanimity of approach (which begs the question: "is performance really enhanced by unanimity of approach, or is the dialectic between different approaches sometimes more dynamic, and more interesting to listent to???).

< Guttenberg is, I believe, an independently wealthy man who conducts his own orchestra and chorus. He uses modern instruments, but his interpretive choices (of tempos, number of performers, and vocal types) are HIPly Correct. Guttenberg's video of the B Minor Mass and his CD of the Christmas Oratorio have a tremendous vitality and sense of commitment; they rank with the best, IMO. >
Another example of how the clock is being turned back to the days when aristocrats hired court ensembles and then bossed them around, sometimes to good effect, more often not. Nowadays, we smile when we hear of the Flute Concertos of Frederick the Great (I was hired once to play continuo on a recording of them: YUK! BLECH! PTOOEY!), but eighteenth century musicians dared not do so: they knew where their next meal was coming from.

Now, we blithely follow these aristocrats - who are aided by big tax cuts that allow them to control media even more disproportionately than before! - into a re-enactment of the 18th century feudal-aristocratic system. Gee, I guess in a few decades we will have to re-enact the Viennese Secession!

Bernard Nys wrote (May 17, 2003):
SMP movie

When we started talking about the Miller - Goodwin staged SMP, I started dreaming again about a real SMP movie, somewhere in between Zeffirelli's Jesus of Nazareth (early seventies) and Lloyd Webber's Jesus Christ Superstar (seventies). Unfortunately, the people who would be able to make such a production are all dead : Kubrick, Losey, Bernstein, Karajan,...

Matthew Neugebauer wrote (May 21, 2003):
[To Bernard Nys] Do you mean a movie of Bach's SMP? Or do you mean just a movie that uses as its script the actual text from the book of Matthew.

If you mean the latter, then it has already been done, with Bruce Marchiano as Jesus, in a set usually known as the "Matthew videos". It uses the exact text from the Bible as its script, and even has what in passion oratorios would be the evengelist-Matthew maybe 30 or 40 years later actually dictating his account to scribes in the form of a narrator.

If you mean the former, a movie form of Bach's SMP, then I don't think it would be as difficult as doing a staged production. In fact, pretty much the same as the above "Matthew videos" could be done in the secco recits and turbae, with Matthew maybe doing flashbacks of a sort. The opening chorus could be the opening credits, and the chorales, ariosi and arias being just like a soundtrack to wordless action or some visual that reflects the mood of the mvmt. What I'm thinking of quite a bit is like that DG movie version of Le Nozze de Figaro or the Zefferelli film version of Verdi's Otello, combined with the purpose of the modern film score in the arias, chorales, etc. (although in this case the music would drive the visuals, instead of the other way around).

Who could do this? Surely more people than the deceased list that Bernard gave, but I don't really know.

Gardiner perhaps?

Gene Hanson wrote (May 21, 2003):
Matthew Neugebauer wrote:
< Who could do this? Surely more people than the deceased list that Bernard gave, but I don't really know. >
Maybe Matthew Neugebauer will someday do it.

Matthew Neugebauer wrote (May 21, 2003):
[To Gene Hanson] lol I'll keep it in mind!

Bernard Nys wrote (May 21, 2003):
[To Matthew Neugebauer] It gives me hope when you say it's not sodifficult to make a SMP movie. Yes, I think that the Zeffirelli-Losey "opera-movies" were very good and succesfull. An "oratorio-movie", why not ? Listen to the Bernstein comments on the second disc of his SMP ! Great drama, great story, great movie if you can find the right people (in English !).

Anyone knows somebody who could produce such movie ?

 

Video Passions - Jonathan Miller's SMP on DVD?

Ehud Shiloni wrote (April 14, 2006):
Julian Mincham wrote:
< Video Passions
As an example of superb video direction, see Jonathan Miller's production of the SJP (or was it the SMP?) which begins as a film of a rehearsal but gradually becomes a dramatic piece of cinema.
This was, indeed an extraordinary production which deserves much greater acclaim. The musical director was Paul Goodwin and the singers (amongst others) were Richard jackson, Nancy Argenta, Jamie McDonald and Stephen Barcoe. (It was, by the way the SMP)
The singers used no music copies and were dressed in contemporary casual clothing. They moved in and around the orchestra (small groups, 3 first 2 second violins and one viola and cello) and inter related with each other. The effect was entirely tele-visual and greatly moving--a text book example of how to successfully translate a work of this kind into the TV medium.
It was broadcast by the BBC, at a guess around 1990 but it may have been earlier. I don't know if it has been released on DVD and would be interested if anyone knows. It was quite ground breaking at the time.
By the way a second request as I had no responses to the first-----possibly because noone knows. But is anyone aware of , or has some or all of the 1950s recording of the SMP conducted by Vaughn Williams? >
I join Julian Mincham in asking if anyone knows whether Jonathan Miller's SMP is available on DVD. A positive reply will make me happy, as I have long searched for such a DVD with no success.

 

SMP-Dramtization

Christoph Bohm wrote (September 4, 2006):
I have been subscribed to this list for quite a while now and I am greatly thankful for the wealth of information that can be found by reading your highly interesting discussion of the cantatas.

I stumbled about a posting in another Mailing list ("operashare") yesterday that I would like to tell you about. Someone uploaded a full video of a staged SMP (dramatization by Johnathan Miller). I took a look at it and I was amazed. This is not only musically brilliant but also seeing the passion performed in the way it is done in this video opened a new view on the work for me (never having seen it staged before). The absence of any kind of common theatre-props and costumes makes it essential to find the drama in the faces and gestures of the singers and seeing the people act out the text of the passion adds (at least for me) a great new level to the performance. It is an extraordinary act.

Does anyone know of any other dramatizations of the SMP or SJP?

What do the members of the group think about such an approach?

Below are the links to the files and technical information on how to join them. Related sites I found on the web include

* an interview with the director: http://www.go-brooklyn.com/html/Issues/_vol29/29_14/stmatthew.html
* a report from someone in the audience: http://www.chekhovsmistress.com/2006/04/bachs_passion_m.html

The files are located on rapidshare which is a hosting service. Each is about 300 MB in size. To join them you will need a program like hjsplit which can be found on http://www.freebyte.com/hjsplit/

Douglas Cowling wrote (September 4, 2006):
Christoph Bohm wrote:
< Does anyone know of any other dramatizations of the SMP or SJP? >
In the early 60's, NBC TV produced a dramatized version of the SMP (Maureen Forrester was the alto). It was a very effective concept which I've described in a past posting (it may still be in the archives). The Miller production was the best staging of a Bach work that I've ever seen.

 

Goodwin and the Brilliant four passion

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (December 30, 2006):
I was just reading in the archives here the most informative notes by [Peter Bloemendaal wrote (May 16, 2003):
This performance dates from 1994]. to the Goodwin MP.

Most everyone in the dialogue there states that their Brilliant edition came with no notes and indeed all four passions came to me noteless however many years ago that was.

Shortly after I received them, I made note of this sad fact on Opera-L (of all places). It was relevant to some discussion. A listmate responded that his set came with notes. In the end (in trade for a copy of the Italian libretto to the Callas Parsifal) he xeroxed me the full libretti (German only) of the Markus- and the Lukas-Passion.

That was some years ago, as noted, and I never returned to the works.

But it is too bad that some copies came with notes while most apparently did not. Peter B.'s notes for the Goodwin MP are most useful. Obviously a libretto is not needed here.

I wonder why "Erbarme dich" was given here to a counter-tenor while the rest of alto stuff was given to (horrors!:-) a female mezzo. I am listening to CD2 of this MP (in the background) right now.

Ah, not so in spite of Peter's exhaustive notes. Counter-tenor in "Sehet Jesus had die Hand" and preceding recitative as well. Maybe elsewhere. Have to listen to the whole.

Paul T. McCain wrote (December 30, 2006):
[To Yoël L. Arbeitman] I received my set of the Brilliant Classics complete Bach edition and the notes are all on a CD ROM in PDF format.

There are no English translations though, but that's ok for me because I use Unger's "Handbook" anyway.

Yoël L. Arbeitman wrote (December 30, 2006):
[To Paul T. McCain] For a set that cheap one cannot complain. I bought only the four passions and 1/2 the cantatas since Berkshire, the only USA distributor at that time, said they would be stocking the other half soon. I also bought the secular cantatas from them.

Again I am happy to have libretti for the two other passions which are my only current recordings of these works. Use to have a Musical Heritage (as I recall) LP of some other reconstruction of the Markus-Passion.

I don't worry about translations for Bach works. In general these days when anything vocal, opera, lieder, baroque, etc. does have texts, one has to be grateful.Last night I relistened to a Hyperion CD entitled German 17th Century Church Music sung by Robin Blaze.

It contains yet another recording of Johann Christoph Bach's "Ach, dass ich Wasser gnug hätte" and Melchior Hoffmann's "Schlage doch, gewünschte Stunde" (BWV 53).

It was all very nice although the Johann Christoph Bach is probably the weakest of the c.7 recordings I have of this cantata and not because of the singer (seems to me).

There just seems less profundity here than in many of the other recordings.
Interpretation of such items is a very delicate thing.It sounded more like a ditty here than the extreme expression of religious emotion that it often can be (in spite of its less than brilliant text and the thought therein)
The "Schlage doch" was quite nice to my ears.Nice to see so many others on the list in addition to the few regulars.

 

Staging the SMP: links on Miller and Sellars

Uri Golomb wrote (October 11, 2011):
A few weeks ago, I wrote about my attending a performance of the St Matthew Passion in London, conducted by Paul Goodwin and staged by Jonathan Miller. Shortly afterwards, my father and I were interviewed by the daily newspaper Haaretz about this performance, and the report is now available on their English website: Haaretz: Bach, animated and inspiring

as I said before, an early version of Miller's staging is available on Youtube in 12 parts, starting with: YouTube: Matthäus Passion [1/12] Jonathan Miller (1994) [J.S. Bach]

The London production also received the following reviews:
The Telegraph: St Matthew Passion, National Theatre, review
The Guardian: St Matthew Passion – review
The Independent: St Matthew Passion, Royal National Theatre
London Evening Standard: St Matthew Passion, National Theatre, Olivier - review

I recently learned that Peter Sellars did a "ritualization" of the SMP with Simon Rattle in Berlin. The complete performance can be viewed online, but only for a fee; there are two free excerpts (
YouTube: Bach: Matthäus-Passion / Rattle · Rundfunkchor Berlin · Berliner Philharmoniker
Digital Conrt Hall: J.S. Bach: St Matthew Passion - Berliner Philharmoniker, Sir Simon Rattle, Peter Sellars, Rundfunkchor Berlin
and an interview with Peter Sellars (short excerpt on: YouTube: Peter Sellars on Bach's Matthäus-Passion
full 50+-minute version on: Digital Concertt Hall: Peter Sellars in conversation with Simon Halsey (50:19)
I haven't seen this one yet - has anyone on this list seen it, either live or online?

Douglas Cowling wrote (October 11, 2011):
Uri Golomb wrote:
< A few weeks ago, I wrote about my attending a performance of the St Matthew Passion in London, conducted by Paul Goodwin and staged by Jonathan Miller. Shortly afterwards, my father and I were interviewed by the daily newspaper Haaretz about this performance, and the report is now available on their English website: >
Terrific piece, Uri. I particularly liked the perspective you and Hitron offered for the complexity of public reception of historically-conditioned works of art in the 21st century. Anyone who is quick to condemn or exempt Bach should read your commentary. Hitron even brought reason to an assessment of Wagner! This is important work.

Thank you.

Julian Mincham wrote (October 12, 2011):
[To Uri Golomb] I searched the Haaretz website, list of contributors, dropdowns etc, but could not find the article. How does one locate it please?

Uri Golomb wrote (October 12, 2011):
[To Julian Mincham] To Julian and others who couldn't find the Haaretz article on Miller's St Matthew Passion – try following this shortened link instead: http://tinyurl.com/6apuo2m

or search Google for the expression
"Bach animated and inspiring"

Uri Golomb wrote (October 12, 2011):
[To Douglas Cowling] Thanks for the compliments, Douglas!

Hitron was writing primarily with an Israeli audience in mind, and his Wagner reference was clearly motivated by the long-standing ban on live performances of Wagner's music in Israel. (You can obtain recordings of Wagner's music easily, and some Israeli private channels broadcast televised versions of his operas; but there have been virtually no live performances, and Israel's public radio and television don't broadcast his music. There used to be a similar ban on Richard Strauss's music, but it disappeared 10-20 years ago, even though Strauss was actually involved with the Nazi regime, whereas Wagner died before Hitler was born.)

Coming back on-topic, I think it's important to note that all the anti-Jewish sentiments in both of Bach's passions derive directly from the New Testament. All Bach did was intensify the emotions already present in the Gospel texts (like the verse quoted in the opening of Hitron's article). I recall listening to Passion oratorios, both Catholic (e.g., Alessandro Scarlatti's Il Dolore di Maria Vergine) and Protestant (e.g., Telemann – I think it was one of his St Matthews) which emphasized anti-Jewish sentiments above and beyond their presence in the Gospels. Bach's Passions do not. The Gospel texts themselves are, arguably, anti-Judaic, but that's something for all of Christianity (rather than Bach in particular) to reckon with. (I should note that, in my view, no 'sacred' text is exempt from such criticism, and all of them contain values which we would find impossible to condone).

Picander's texts for the SMP ignore the Jews entirely (except maybe in "Sind Blitzen, sind Donner"). They focus instead on Christian guilt – Christian believers are to blame for Christ's death, since he died for them and for
their sins. Many of the chorales chosen for inclusion in the SMP communicate the same message (most starkly in "Ich bin's, ich sollte bussen"). I recall a lecture in which John Butt showed how this emphasis is related to Martin Luther's own prescription for Good Friday, which similarly exhorted believers to turn their gaze inwards, to note their own guilt. (I should check whether this comparison made it into Butt's book on the Passions).

Ultimately, the prevailing emotions in the SMP are sadness, pity and compassion. As a Jew and an atheist, I don't believe in the specific theological message that inspired Bach, but I still find the work - the text as animated by the music - profoundly moving and inspiring; it is a profoundly humane work, acknowledging human faults and fragility and the power of forgiveness. It seemed to me that Jonathan Miller (another atheist
of Jewish descent) felt similarly about this, and that his staging indeed emphasizes the humaneness that arises from Bach's music.

Anne (Nessie) Russell wrote (October 12, 2011):
Uril Golomb wrote:
< To Julian and others who couldn't find the Haaretz article on Miller's St Matthew Passion – try following this shortened link instead: http://tinyurl.com/6apuo2m >
This works for me.
Thanks,

John Pike wrote (October 12, 2011):
[To Uri Golomb] Thanks, Uri. I greatly enjoyed reading this review. Miller is an extraordinary director and polymath (who incidentally read Medicine at Cambridge before becoming a director) and I remember vividly watching his production on TV all those years ago. He is also incredibly versatile, producing wonderful performances of whatever theatre or music he turns to. I particularly remember his inspired production of "The Mikado" on TV. His opinions on any subject are always highly articulate and intelligent. he is also very entertaining to listen to.

As a Christian, of course, all these events are very real for me, and most scholars now do not doubt the reality of a man called Jesus, as well as many aspects of the Biblical account. There are, of course, other aspects of the story that are disputed.

I hope that there will be a chance to see Miller's production on DVD eventually. From what I have read, it seems that he has served both the music and Bach's original concept very well.

Toël L. Arbeitman wrote (October 15, 2011):
Uri Golomb wrote:
< To Julian and others who couldn't find the Haaretz article on Miller's St Matthew Passion âEUR" try following this shortened link instead: http://tinyurl.com/6apuo2m >
Putting "Golomb" in the search on that notorious newspaper generated your article. I have avoided that far left rag for over a decade.

 

Matthäus-Passion BWV 244: Details
Recordings: 1900-1949 | 1950-1959 | 1960-1969 | 1970-1979 | 1980-1989 | 1990-1999 | 2000-2009 | 2010-2019 | Individual Movements
General Discussions:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | BWV 244a | BWV 244b
Systemetic Discussions:
Part 1: Mvts. 1-8 | Part 2: Mvts. 9-20 | Part 3: Mvts. 21-29 | Part 4: Mvts. 30-40 | Part 5: Mvts. 41-50 | Part 6: Mvts. 51-57 | Part 7: Mvts. 58-63b | Part 8: Mvts. 63c-68 | Part 9: Role of the Evangelist
Individual Recordings:
BWV 244 - L. Bernstein | BWV 244 - F. Brüggen | BWV 244 - J. Butt | BWV 244 - R. Chailly | BWV 244 - S. Cleobury | BWV 244 - J. Daus | BWV 244 - D. Fasolis | BWV 244 - W. Furtwängler | BWV 244 - J.E. Gardiner | BWV 244 - W. Gönnenwein | BWV 244 - P. Goodwin | BWV 244 - E.z. Guttenberg | BWV 244 - N. Harnoncourt | BWV 244 - P. Herreweghe | BWV 244 - R. Jacques | BWV 244 - H.v. Karajan | BWV 244 - O. Klemperer | BWV 244 - T. Koopman | BWV 244 - S. Koussevitzky | BWV 244 - S. Kuijken | BWV 244 - F. Lehmann | BWV 244 - G. Leonhardt | BWV 244 - P.J. Leusink | BWV 244 - E.&R. Mauersberger | BWV 244 - H. Max | BWV 244 - P. McCreesh | BWV 244 - W. Mengelberg | BWV 244 - K. Münchinger | BWV 244 - R. Norrington | BWV 244 - G. Oberfrank | BWV 244 - S. Ozawa | BWV 244 - A. Parrott | BWV 244 - G. Ramin | BWV 244 - S. Rattlr | BWV 244 - K. Richter | BWV 244 - H. Rilling | BWV 244 - H.J. Rotzsch | BWV 244 - H. Scherchen | BWV 244 - G. Solti | BWV 244 - C. Spering | BWV 244 - M. Suzuki | BWV 244 - J.v. Veldhoven | BWV 244 - B. Walter | BWV 244 - F. Werner | BWV 244 - M. Wöldike
Articles:
Saint Matthew Passion, BWV 244 [T.N. Towe] | Two Easter St. Matthew Passions (Plus One) [U. Golomb] | St. Matthew Passion from Harnoncourt [D. Satz] | The Passion according to Saint Matthew BWV 244 [J. Rifkin] | The Relationship between BWV 244a (Trauermusik) and BWV 244b (SMP Frühfassung) [T. Braatz] | Matthäus-Passion BWV 244 - Early History (A Selective, Annotated Bibliography) [W. Hoffman] | Spiritual Sources of Bach's St. Matthew Passion [W. Hoffman] | Bach and the "Great Passion" [D.G. Lebut Jr.] | The Genesis of Bach's `Great Passion': 1724-29 [W. Hoffman] | Early Performances of Bach's SMP [T. Braatz]

Paul Goodwin: Short Biography | Recordings of Vocal Works | BWV 244 - P. Goodwin

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Last update: ýJanuary 4, 2013 ý07:56:39